("Let's table the discussion" is a new Adath Israel Shul initiative where a story or thought is presented in order to stimulate exciting and constructive discussion around our Shabbos table or among friends and children. Dedicated to the Refuah Sheleima of Shalva Adina Bas Sarah Chana)
In a certain small town in Europe, the people worried about Yankel, the local “Lo Yutzlachnik” (town fool). No matter what he tried, Yankel just didn’t seem able to be successful. Whether he was a student at the Cheder or al the myriad of apprenticeships that were suggested for him, Yankel would be taken under someone’s wing and then, unfortunately, wouldn’t succeed until he was fired.
But Yankel was a gentle soul. People genuinely liked him. And so, they mused about his future with pity and davened to insure his success in the future – at least so that he shouldn’t be “a Rachmanus case” on them for the rest of his life.
One day, Yankel hit it big. In a country-wide lottery, Yankel was the only one who had gotten all three numbers right. He became an instant millionaire with enough money to take care of himself and three more generations. In fact, he had won enough, to really help everyone else in the town.
The people were in disbelief. They asked Yankel “How did you do it?”
He answered: “It was quite easy actually. I wasn’t going to buy a lottery ticket but I had a dream and in it I saw the numbers 17, 18, 300 and 70. I figured out that these were the numbers for the lotto. “
The people were surprised. “Yankel, you know that the lottery was a pick-3 don’t you?”
“Yes,” came the reply. “That’s why I added them up. 17 and 18 and 300 and 70 and I got to the total – 415. I wrote those numbers down and see how good it got me?”
One guy called out “Yankel, the numbers add up to 405 not 415.”
“Really,” said Yankel. “I guess I really had luck in that I cannot add.”
The Torah tells us that Hashem promised us that when we go into Eretz Yisrael there will be Tzoraas on the homes. Rashi informs us that this was a promise of good news as it was a hint to an undiscovered treasury of wealth that was contained therein. But, notes Rav Avrohom Yofen ztl., think about the change in attitude that the homeowner must have had. Initially he had thought that the Nega in the home was the biggest pox – a mark of shame and humiliation and at the very least, an annoyance to be avoided. How he would daven that it not be Tzoraas! That is, until he discovered the true treasure that was really contained therein. At that point, he thanked Hashem for not hearing his prayers.
Often we anticipate a particular plan of life. When life does not go according to that plan, we can easily become frustrated and even question our motives and beliefs. However, the true believer uses his or her current state of affairs to grow – not only personally and successfully but spiritually as well.
What situations in life have YOU not planned on?
Can you see how these might have worked out to your advantage?
Let’s “table” the discussion – by discussing it with our children, spouses, families and guests and open an exciting discussion into our homes and community.